Lake Norman & Mooresville

Love of collecting started as a teen

When Robert Keasey found the cure to his teenage summertime boredom, he ended up finding a life-long hobby.

Keasey, 47, a stay-at-home dad, said that's how his love of beer can collecting got its start 32 years ago.

"I was 15 years old, there was no one to play with in the summertime so I started riding my bike around the neighborhood and started picking up beer cans," said Keasey.

After finding 32 different cans, Keasey was hooked.

"I started out my hobby just to see how many I could get," said Keasey. "At one time I had 2,500 cans lining every wall of my room."

Since then, Keasey has become a bit more selective with what breweriana he adds to his collection.

"Now, condition is everything to me," said Keasey who has traveled as far as Michigan to hunt for a particular item.

"Wherever we go, even on family vacations, I am always looking. You just never know what can be out there."

Keasey's wife, Karen, doesn't mind his hobby now that it has become somewhat contained.

"When we first got married he used to display the breweriana in our bedroom, then it moved to our living room. Now I am happy that we have evolved enough to have it contained to a spare room in our home," said Karen.

The Keasey family moved to the Edgewater Park development in Mooresville five years ago from Florida with their three children.

Even though Keasey considers breweriana a hobby, he's made some money from it in the past. He's sold off parts of his collection twice, each time for about $32,000.

"Once I decided I really wanted to buy a Mercedes and the second time I sold it all off to purchase a muscle car I had always really wanted," said Keasey.

Keasey said he still has the Mercedes; the other car was a 1970 Mustang BOSS 302 that he sold for $42,500.

As for the value of his current collection, "I have a ball park of what my collection is worth, but it's one subject that I personally feel should be kept confidential," he said.

While a hobby like collecting breweriana might seem odd to some, Keasey thinks it is something that could interest many people if they took the time to find out about it.

"Every time I go to a show it's almost like a reunion with family," said Keasey. "You might not talk to a person for a year but you pick right back up where you left off."

Keasey's goal is to add more pieces to his collection and introduce breweriana to a younger generation.

"I still have more that I would like to add to my collection," said Keasey. "I really don't know if I'll ever stop collecting. I think it's in my blood."